Talks between Mahinda and President’s proxies fail

Possible pact ahead of LG, PC polls


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa has indicated that there couldn’t be a consensus between his grouping and the SLFP under the present circumstances.

Former President Rajapaksa has declared that his grouping wouldn’t accept any arrangement at the expense of the party against the backdrop of the SLFPers in government pursuing an agenda inimical to the party.

The SLFP-led Joint Opposition comprises nearly 50 elected members of parliament whereas the parliamentary group loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena is comparatively smaller. Recently Priyankara Jayaratne quit President Sirisena’s camp.

The former president reiterated his position at a meeting with Chief Ministers of six SLFP led UPFA run Provincial Councils at his official residence at Wijerama Mawatha yesterday.

Political sources told The Island that Chief Ministers had the blessings of President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the leader of the SLFP to explore ways and means of reaching an agreement with the former President ahead of the forthcoming local government polls as well as elections to three Provincial Councils.

Chief Ministers want the former President to abandon plans to field separate lists at local government and Provincial Councils polls on the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna ticket.

Sources said that yesterday’s talks had entered inconclusively and there was absolutely no likelihood of an understanding in the near future. They emphasized that the Joint Opposition would go ahead with the planned Nugegoda rally meant to intensify pressure on the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration.

At the conclusion of talks with top Joint Opposition team, Central Provincial Council Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake told the media they hadn’t been able to reach an agreement.

Chief Minister of the North Central Province Peshala Jayaratne skipped the meeting.


Among those present there on the invitation of the former President were Prof. G.L. Peiris, Prasanna Ranatunga, MP, Bandula Gunawardena, MP, Johnston Fernando, MP, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, MP and Gamini Lokuge.


Recollecting the declaration made by President Maithripala Sirisena on the eve of Aug 2015 parliamentary polls that his predecessor wouldn’t be named the Prime Minister, a top JO spokesman Prof. G.L. Peiris told The Island that a despicable attempt was being made to deceive them again. Prof. Peiris said that the JO felt they couldn’t contest either local government or Provincial Council polls together as long as the SLFP remained in the ruling coalition.


During yesterday’s talks, the former President reminded Chief Ministers how he was hounded by the present leadership in spite of him going back to Medamulana immediately after his defeat.

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